Salvation Army starts mobilizing volunteers for the holiday season |

Salvation Army starts mobilizing volunteers for the holiday season

Rhonda Costa-Landers
Brad Horn / Tribune News Service / Isaiah Martinez, 2, carries a toy while his grandmother, Ana Garcia, carries her family's Thanksgiving dinner with daughter, Adriana Aguayo, at the Salvation Army building in Carson City.

Each time Salvation Army Capt. Erica Helton has found herself against a brick wall, God provided an answer to her needs almost immediately. Last week was no exception.

After going through computer files to locate past volunteers for toy barrels, food donations, Red Kettle bell ringers and others for Christmas programs, the information was nowhere to be found. A glitch deleted the information.

Fortunately for Helton, she was able to find records from 2002 and is now working on getting what she needs for 2004, including signing up kettle volunteers to work in Stateline and South Lake Tahoe.

“I need volunteers to help in all areas of our Christmas programs,” Helton said. Even though she’s facing the challenge alone – Helton is the first captain to work solo in Carson City – she braves the insanity with a smile.

“It helps having staff who remember these things. It’s been one major nightmare after the next. But anyone who wants to sponsor an Angel Tree, toy barrel or adopt a family, ring bells – these are the people and businesses we need. Also service clubs, schools, other nonprofits could help us out.”

God was listening.

Helton walked to the church hall where Director of Social Services Vi Bybee was distributing Thanksgiving food baskets, when three young bilingual women walked in to volunteer their translating and other services for the Salvation Army.

“Praise God,” Helton said, with an even bigger smile than before.

It’s not the first time sisters Rosa, 17, Lizet, 22, and Jennie Angel, 20, have volunteered. The women learned the value of volunteering from their mother.

“Mom said, ‘You never know. Today is for you, tomorrow it may be for me,'” said Lizet.

“We’ve been volunteering since we were little. It’s quality time with my sisters,” she said smiling at them.

Rosa is a member of the Latino Leadership Club at Carson High School. The club is holding a canned-food drive for Hispanic families who have recently moved to the area. She hopes her actions will encourage her classmates to do the same.

Helton said businesses, service organizations and other nonprofits have called to ask where the barrels are for donations.

“Those who’ve helped in the past are calling concerned we haven’t called them yet,” Helton said. “And I’m very grateful. Please, if we haven’t called you, call us. We’d be glad to get to you what you need.

Helton said she also was able to pick up a few locations in South Lake Tahoe.

“People who care are calling us. God is providing. It’s just awesome,” she said.

Support Local Journalism

Your support means a better informed community. Donate today.


See more